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Old 02-26-2014, 09:17 PM   #1
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Skin fixed to Frame or Floor?

Hello,

I have a 61 caravel with absolutely no floor and the shell is pretty much completely detached to the frame (no idea why it didn't fly off during towing). Do you know if the shell was originally riveted to the steel frame or if it was screwed down to the plywood sub floor?

Cheers, Chris.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:34 PM   #2
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Remove the inner skins, and you will see that there are some bolts that come up through the frame outriggers, through the floor, and up through the c-channel, which is riveted to the skins.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:44 PM   #3
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Great, thanks for the info.
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:07 AM   #4
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So for more detail, I believe that on the 60's era trailers, the belly skin wraps up and goes between the shell skin and the C-channel. So to separate the shell from the frame, you will have to drill out the rivets that connect the shell to the belly skin, and remove the bolts that connect the C-channel to the frame (these are usually called "elevator bolts"). There may be other wood screws attaching the C-channels to the sub floor as well. There will also be a front and rear plate that is part of the frame, and is riveted directly to the shell. So, a lot of rivets to drill out, and elevator bolts to remove (these can usually just be broken off).

So you say that the floor is completely missing--did the previous owner pull the floor out from under the walls, or just cut it at the c-channel?

Anyway--I think I have seen your posts in two or three other places as well, I'll just offer some additional advice here. As I recall, there are no maintenance manuals available for your year, so you will have to scratch around on the forums to try to find diagrams, etc., that others have posted. A reference is always nice, but it sounds like the previous owner made enough of a mess of things that any reference is likely to be useless anyway. By the time you are done, you will likely replace all plumbing, wiring, insulation, etc..

As to the work to do, plan to do a shell-off from the start. Build a set of gantries to lift the shell. When you start removing the inner skins, you will find some rodent infestations, and scary wiring, etc., and it is at this point that most people conclude that they need to remove all of the inner skins and replace what is behind them. Once the shell is off, you can repair the frame, paint it with POR-15, install new axle, install a new sub floor, make you plan for holding tanks etc. Your trailer is like a house--you need to start with the foundation and work your way up. You have a big project ahead of you, but be patient, and use the Forums--chances are many people have done something just like you are going to do and have lots of information to share.

good luck!
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:10 PM   #5
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Thank you for all this info! Super helpful. I'll try to keep you updated on progress. Chris.
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Old 04-28-2014, 12:48 PM   #6
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Hello again. We've gotten pretty far into the renovation now and have removed all the inner shell. We've now realized that the whole left hand side below the windows is not original. Someone's done a crappy job of replacing it at some point and the structural hoops have been cut off and badly replaced / attached below the window line. They appear to be original on the left side. On left (repaired) side the ends of the hoops stop short of the edge of the skin, and on the right, they extend a little (1/8th to a 1/4 inch) down past the edge of the skin. This means that the shell sits on the subfloor at an angle (tiped over to the left, when viewing from behind).

Am I right in assuming that the right hand side is correct. That is, should the structural hoops extend down past the skin edge a little? About 1/8th to 1/4 inch?

Cheers, Chris.
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:46 PM   #7
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Post a picture of each side. Neither one sounds too kosher. By "hoops" I assume you mean the vertical ribs (?)
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:33 PM   #8
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Yep, vertical ribs is what I meant by hoops.

So here are 2 pictures. First is of the right side vertical rib which is behind the wheel. You'll notice that it extends slightly below the skin's edge. The ribs on each side of the door are similarly positioned.



This is an image of the left side rib which is opposite the rear edge of the door. You'll see that its end stops far short of the skin's edge. I've had to put a block of wood under it to raise the edge of the skin up to the same level as the right side.



The fundamental questions I'm trying to answer is: Where should the edge of the skin sit (height wise) relative the top surface of the sub floor?

Follow link below for loads more photos.
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:34 AM   #9
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The C or U Channel will sit on the plywood subfloor, and the skin should rivet into it. The ribs should extend all the way down and rest on the bottom of the channel. I can see the holes from the rivet line that used to connect the channel to the skin on both sides, that your ribs on the left side wouldn't have gone all the way down into the channel. The ribs on the right side look like they could be too long, but really, this just means that the skins have less overlap with the channel, which doesn't make a lot of difference since your belly skin wraps up under the shell to protect the subfloor.

In theory, the ribs really don't support the weight of your shell, like the framing in a house, they are just there to create the rounded shape of the shell, and the shell skin itself creates the strength of the shell. So, it is not unusual to find ribs that don't go all the way to the bottom of the channels, nor is it unusual to find that horizontal stringers aren't securely fastened to ribs, etc..

So, my recommendation would be to put the C channels in place, and get the rivet holes lined up on the right "original" side, and then see what adjustments need to be made to the other side in order for everything to sit level. If you can avoid redrilling rivet holes in both sides, that would be best, but if there isn't enough wiggle room by moving only the one side, then do what you need to to get it all level. Also be conscious of where the wheel wells joint your shell.

good luck!
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:16 AM   #10
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Just looked at your pics. You are really in deep! Your frame looks great!

I think you're getting good advice above though. When you are done the junction between the bottom of the shell and the bellypan will be covered up by a trim piece at the level of the c-channel, so everything will look good from the outside you'll never see that tiny bit of difference from side to side.
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:35 AM   #11
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Hi Belegedhel, thanks for this. Some questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
The C or U Channel will sit on the plywood subfloor, and the skin should rivet into it. The ribs should extend all the way down and rest on the bottom of the channel.
OK, by "C or U Channel" I guess you mean the horizontal channel pieces? Right?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
I can see the holes from the rivet line that used to connect the channel to the skin on both sides, that your ribs on the left side wouldn't have gone all the way down into the channel. The ribs on the right side look like they could be too long, but really, this just means that the skins have less overlap with the channel, which doesn't make a lot of difference since your belly skin wraps up under the shell to protect the subfloor.

In theory, the ribs really don't support the weight of your shell, like the framing in a house, they are just there to create the rounded shape of the shell, and the shell skin itself creates the strength of the shell. So, it is not unusual to find ribs that don't go all the way to the bottom of the channels, nor is it unusual to find that horizontal stringers aren't securely fastened to ribs, etc..

So, my recommendation would be to put the C channels in place, and get the rivet holes lined up on the right "original" side, and then see what adjustments need to be made to the other side in order for everything to sit level. If you can avoid redrilling rivet holes in both sides, that would be best, but if there isn't enough wiggle room by moving only the one side, then do what you need to to get it all level. Also be conscious of where the wheel wells joint your shell.

good luck!
OK, sounds like a good plan. I'll give it a shot. Only issue is that I don't trust the the horizontal channels on either side are original and therefore, if I put them back on with the same rivet holes, there's not much guarantee that the skin edge will be at the original height. I agree this isn't a big deal if its a little off, except that if it's too high it will pull the curved belly pan sides up too far and in to the vertical steel edges of the chassis outriggers which will then wear though them with vibration (as appears to have happened in several places on our trailer!).

I'd ideally like to set it up as it was originally intended and therefore all I really need to know (if it's possible to know!) is where the edge of the shell should stop (vertically) relative to the top surface of the subfloor. I.e. above it by x" below it by x" or at the same level.

Another question, was the belly pan put on before the shell on in this year? I can't see how else it could have been done since the belly pan edges go between the shell and the horizontal channel.

Cheers,

C.
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:03 PM   #12
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I agree, the bellypan appears to be fitted first, because it wrapped over the edges of the C Channel (horizontal piece) on mine. Also, the only places where I had outriggers vibrating through the bellypan material is where the outrigger was broken. Otherwise there should be no vibration between them.

Are you using the old bellypan or creating it from new material?
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts View Post
I agree, the bellypan appears to be fitted first, because it wrapped over the edges of the C Channel (horizontal piece) on mine. Also, the only places where I had outriggers vibrating through the bellypan material is where the outrigger was broken. Otherwise there should be no vibration between them.

Are you using the old bellypan or creating it from new material?
Great, thanks for the info Stephanie.

I haven't decided on the belly pan. 80% of the old one is junk but the curved perimeter isn't too bad. I may trim it off a foot or so back from the edge, reuse it and attached new flat sheet to cover the rest of the bottom. Remaking the whole thing might be too much for my budget and time unfortunately, even though I'd like to do it properly.
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